Working Capital Calculation – Regression Analysis Method

Regression analysis is a statistical tool to estimate the working capital and its components. It establishes an equation relationship between revenue and working capital. It can also be called trend analysis because the relation is carved out based on past trends. This method says ‘Working Capital = Intercept + Slope * Revenue without going into technical details.’ Let us see in detail about working capital calculation.

The standard equation is stated as below:

y = a + bx

In our case, y represents the working capital because that is to be forecasted. X represents sales as it is the base for finding out the working capital. a & b are intercept and slope. A slope is the rate of change of working capital with one unit change in revenue. Intercept is the point where the regression line and working capital axis meet. At the end of the statistical exercise with past revenue and working capital data, we will get an equation as explained above with real values of a and b. Then we will be able to find out y (working capital) for a given x (forecasted sales).

How to Calculate Working Capital using Regression Analysis with Formula and Example

Let us understand what we have to do to get our estimates rather than understanding too much technical statistics. See the following table. The first column is a year, the second is sales, and the third is working capital. As we required the past data for future forecasting, here we have our past data. The fourth column is the product of sales and working capital, and the fifth is the square of sales.

Sr. No.YearSalesWorking CapitalProduct of Sales & WCSquare of Sales (x) 
  (x)(y) x*yx2
DenotationnΣx Σy Σxy Σx2

Once this table is ready with n, Σx, Σy, Σxy, and Σx2. We will solve the following equations.

Formula = Σy = na + bΣxFormula = Σxy = aΣx + bΣx2
Will replace the formula with values we haveWill replace the formula with values we have
1029 = 10a + 1642b185620 = 1642a + 292802b
Multiply by 1642Multiply by 10
=>  1689618 = 16420a + 2696164 ———– Eq. (1)=>  1856200 = 16420a + 2928020b ———– Eq. (2)
Subtract Eq. (1) from (2), we get, 
166582 = 0 + 231856 b 
=>  b = 166582/231856 = 0.7185 
Now, replace b = 0.7185 in our old eq. 1029 = 10a + 1642b 
We get, a = -15. 078 

After all this exercise, we get the following equation,

Working Capital (x) = -15.078 + 0.7185 Sales (b)

Now, if the forecasted sales for the year 2015 are 300, the working capital as per this method would be 200.472. (Working Capital = -15.078 + 0.7185 * 300 = 200.472). Similarly, all the components can be calculated.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantage of this method is that it is based on regression analysis, a proven method of forecasting. The bigger the amount of data we have, the better are the chances of accuracy with this method. Its drawback is that it is not simple like the percentage of sales method. The understanding and calculation both are difficult and lengthy. 

Other Methods for Estimating the Working Capital Requirements:

Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".

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